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How to choose a wedding ring

Practical wedding rings for modern, active couples

There are times when a traditional wedding ring can get in your way. If you work in a physical career such as an electrician, nurse or personal trainer, you’d be devastated if your soft gold ring got ruined. Luckily, there are alternative wedding ring materials that are made to tolerate the demands of your physical career.

After our own personal experience of trying to find comfortable, safe wedding rings to suit our active lifestyles, we created the Etrnl range. We decided to focus on two special materials to begin with: flexible silicone wedding rings, and super tough and scratch-resistant tungsten wedding rings. Since then, we’ve expanded our range so you can find your perfect ring.

With wedding ring designs in silicone, tungsten, titanium, wood, black zirconium and steel you’ll find a ring that gives you the freedom to live your life - without worrying about damaging the symbol of your marriage.

Perhaps you already have a traditional gold or platinum wedding ring that you want to protect, but you still want to wear a ring every day to show your commitment. It makes sense to save your delicate wedding ring for special occasions, and switch to a tungsten, titanium, wood or silicone ring for everyday wear, at work and at the gym.

Here’s our guide for how to choose the perfect ring for your lifestyle, and how to choose a ring that you love wearing.

We cover the materials and stunning design features of:

Silicone wedding rings

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or lead a career that’s highly active, a silicone ring is practical and comfortable. It’s a wedding ring you can enjoy wearing every single day, to work and to the gym.

What is silicone?

Silicone is a flexible, rubber-like synthetic polymer used commercially for all sorts of things including food-grade kitchen utensils and baby bottles, trade uses like plumbing seals, and medical uses like contact lenses.

Silicone is heat resistant and non-conductive, so it’s safe for tradies to wear at work.

The best news is that silicone is durable and impossible to scratch. Plus, silicone can be moulded into just about any shape. That’s what makes it the perfect material for rings, for anyone who lives an active lifestyle or who works in a physical career.

Silicone wedding rings suit:

  • People with active or hands-on jobs including: hospitality, nursing and medical, trades and labourers, personal trainers and athletes.
  • People who enjoy sports and active hobbies including gym, weights, Crossfit and swimming. Silicone is impossible to scratch, and it can even withstand abrasion from the rough steel knurling on gym barbells.
  • People who are allergic to jewellery metals. Silicone is hypoallergenic, non-toxic and BPA free, so it won’t irritate your skin.
  • Anyone who has sustained a finger injury or has arthritis in the fingers. Metal rings can be uncomfortable to wear and difficult to fit over large knuckles, whereas a silicone ring is both easy to put on, and comfortable to wear.
  • Silicone rings are suitable for rock climbing. Because silicone rings are flexible, there’s no risk of getting your ring stuck in a crack while rock climbing. Wearing a metal ring while rock climbing can lead to degloving (if you decide to look this up, please use Google image search with caution – it’s a pretty gruesome injury). The safest and best ring for rock climbers is a flexible silicone ring.

How to care for your silicone wedding ring

With silicone, you’re in luck, because silicone rings need no special care. You can get on with your life, forgetting you’re wearing it.
 
You might prefer to dry your hands thoroughly after washing or showering, to make sure the silicone ring doesn’t trap any water underneath. But apart from that, simply enjoy wearing your silicone wedding ring 24/7.

[Shop The Silicone Range]

Tungsten wedding rings

If your commitment is forever, then your wedding ring should be too. Tungsten rings are a strong, beautiful and affordable alternative to traditional wedding ring metals.

What is tungsten?

Tungsten is a rare metal that’s exceptionally hard. It’s a similar density to gold, and much more scratch-resistant than gold, which makes tungsten well suited to rings.
 
In its pure form, tungsten is very hard, but also brittle. So for the purposes of jewellery-making, tungsten is combined with carbon to make it malleable enough to shape into rings. It’s a hypoallergenic metal compound that’s safe to wear every day.
 
Tungsten doesn’t tarnish. And you don’t even need to polish it. It’s so hard and scratch-resistant that it’ll retain its lustre under normal conditions.

Tungsten wedding rings suit:

  • People with active or hands-on jobs including hospitality, trades and labourers, medical, personal trainers, athletes.
  • People who want a metal wedding ring that will last a lifetime.
  • Formal and polished styles in silver, and with gold plating.
  • Contemporary styles in black metal finish.

Tungsten rings (and all metal rings, for that matter) are not suitable for rock climbing. The best ring for rock climbers is a flexible silicone ring.

Tungsten ring finishes

Tungsten’s natural color is a silver tone, which we can polish, brush or hammer into different textures. We can also coat tungsten with black or gold-plated finishes for different looks. 

Black and gold-plated tungsten rings have a coating, which means they are less scratch-resistant than the silver finish tungsten.
 
If you need your ring to withstand a lot of scratches and knocks, brushed silver tungsten is an excellent choice.

[Shop The Tungsten Range]

Titanium wedding rings

The most special property of titanium rings is that they feel light as a feather on your hand. Titanium is light and durable, which makes a titanium ring super comfortable to wear every day.

What is Titanium?

Titanium is a precious metal that’s hard and strong. Titanium is significantly less dense than gold, platinum, palladium and tungsten, which makes it lighter than other ring metals. Its strength and low density are why it’s the metal of choice for aircraft and spacecraft. Its hardness also makes it very resistant to scratching.

Most Titanium rings are made from an alloy that includes a small amount of aluminium and vanadium to make the ring malleable.

Titanium is also hypoallergenic, making it suitable for surgical implants such as hip replacements. Titanium rings don’t include nickel or cobalt (which are common allergens), so they’re comfortable for people with sensitive skin or metal allergies.

The most common color for titanium rings is a silver color, which is slightly more grey than sterling silver or white gold. Titanium rings can be plated in gold and black finishes.

Although the gold and black plating is hard and scratch resistant, the gold and black rings need slightly more care to prevent scratching. If you’re concerned about scratches, the best choice is the uncoated silver finish titanium (or uncoated silver finish tungsten as above).

It's important to note that titanium rings can’t be resized. But don’t worry – we offer a 60-day exchange so you can be sure you have the right fit.

Titanium wedding rings suit:

  • People who are not used to wearing jewellery, and people who want an ultra-light ring
  • People with active or hands-on jobs including hospitality, trades and labourers, medical, personal trainers, athletes.
  • People who want a metal wedding ring that will last a lifetime.
  • Formal and polished styles in silver, and with gold plating.
  • Contemporary styles in black metal finish.

Titanium rings (and all metal rings, for that matter) are not suitable for rock climbing. The best ring for rock climbers is a flexible silicone ring

[Shop The Titanium Range]

Wood wedding rings

You don’t see as many wood rings as metal, so your wood and tungsten wedding ring is sure to be a talking point. It combines the durability of tungsten with the warm, natural grain of the wood for a unique piece of jewellery.

Which wood types are used in Etrnl wood and tungsten wedding rings?

Rosewoodis known for its warm red tones and distinctive dark grain patterns.

Koa woodis native to the Hawaiian islands, and is a rich red-brown with fine grain lines

Both Rosewood and Koa are hardwoods, which makes them suitable for use in jewellery. The polished wood finishes have a glossy lustre that shows off the unique grain patterns.

Wood and tungsten wedding rings suit: 

  • People with active jobs and lifestyles who are willing to invest in a bit of extra care for their wedding ring.

Wood and tungsten rings will tolerate the usual knocks of daily life. The more tungsten on the outside of the ring, the more hardy it will be. You can choose the amount of wood in your ring design, to suit your lifestyle and how much care you want to take.

Some of the wood and tungsten rings show just a hint of wood grain between the metal and your finger, so the wood layer is well protected. Other designs have a thin band of wood inlay as a rich and eye-catching accent. Then some of the rings feature wood as the main feature - a warm, natural material with unique wood grain patterns, to make your ring truly personal.

If you already have a wedding ring, a wood and tungsten ring makes for a memorable anniversary gift or casual ring for the right hand. The traditional 5th wedding anniversary gift is wood.

How to care for your wood ring

It’s important to know that wood isn’t as tough as tungsten or silicone, so it needs a bit of extra love to keep it looking good long term.
 
It’s easy to keep your wood ring looking smooth and shiny by polishing it occasionally with a microfibre cloth. If your ring has wood only on the inside surface, it won’t need much polishing because your finger will keep the inside surface of the ring polished and smooth.
 
It’s best to take off your wooden ring if there’s a risk of it getting wet. We recommend you remove your wood ring before hand washing, doing dishes, showering or swimming.
 
Solvents are harmful to the wood finish, so it’s best to remove your ring or wear gloves when using solvents. Common solvents include nail polish remover (acetone), paint thinners, turpentine, petrol, detergents, and perfumes or colognes.

[Shop The Wood Range]

Black Zirconium wedding rings

Black zirconium makes a wedding ring or engagement ring that is elegant, long-lasting and highly scratch resistant. It’s also lightweight and super comfortable to wear as your everyday ring.

What is Black Zirconium?

Zirconium is a hypoallergenic metal that’s usually a silver-grey color that turns black when it’s oxidized under extreme heat.

Black zirconium has undergone a chemical reaction (to become zirconium dioxide); this means it’s not a coating, so the black colour can’t fade, peel or scratch off. You’d basically have to scrape it along concrete, or gouge it with a diamond drill, to scratch through the oxidized surface. That’s tough!

While it’s strong, zirconium is less dense than tungsten (closer to the weight of titanium). So if you’re after a black ring that doesn’t feel heavy, zirconium could be perfect for you.

Black Zirconium wedding rings suit:

  • People who want a durable, lightweight ring in black.
  • People with active or hands-on jobs including hospitality, medical, personal trainers, athletes.
  • People who want a metal wedding ring that will last a lifetime.
  • Contemporary styles in mostly black metal finishes.

Black Zirconium ring finishes

Most of the black zirconium rings in our range are black on the outside, to offer a hard wearing surface.

However, there are also some black zirconium rings with contrast features such as gold plated edges, rose gold inlay, or silver outer surfaces (we oxidize the whole ring - inside and out - then grind down the outer black layer with a diamond drill to reveal the silver to make the new ‘outside’. Clever, right?)

[Shop The Black Zirconium Range]

Damascus Steel wedding rings

Every Damascus steel ring is handmade and unique, with swirling patterns like rippling water. No two rings have the same patterns (which means your ring will be slightly different from the ones shown in our photos).

What is Damascus Steel?

Damascus steel is an iron-carbon alloy originally used in the forging of ancient weapons that were strong and flexible.

The characteristic rippling patterns come from the method of folding and twisting metals together. This means you get intricate patterns of two different colored metals, especially in the gold, rose gold and gunmetal finishes. They’re special; check them out here.

Damascus steel rings feel substantial without feeling heavy.

Damascus Steel wedding rings suit:

  • People who want a wedding ring that’s built to last a lifetime.
  • A wedding ring that is unique, with interesting patterns
  • A choice of finishes including gold, rose gold, gunmetal grey, black and wood grain inlay

Damascus steel ring finishes

Our Damascus steel rings come in five popular finishes: black, gunmetal, gold, rose gold and wood inlay.

[Shop The Damascus Range]

Need help to decide which ring is right for you?

If you’re still not sure which ring is right for the demands of your favourite activities, feel free to contact us. We’d be delighted to discuss your options and help you choose the perfect ring that will stand the test of time for you and your partner.